Sage Kotsenburg of U.S. wins 1st gold of Sochi Olympics in slopestyle
By By Lisa Dillman
Feb 08, 2014 | 5:25 AM
SOCHI, Russia -- He came to these Olympics determined to stay his chilled-out, snowboarding self at the pressure-packed Winter Games and, in his own words, continue to "march to his own beat."
With that attitude and special flair, 20-year-old Sage Kotsenburg of Park City, Utah, marched off with the first gold medal of the 2014 Sochi Olympics in men's slopestyle on Saturday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
This marked the Olympic debut of one of the livelier extreme sports and Kotsenburg won it with an eye-popping first run in the final, earning 93.50 points. Taking the silver was Staale Sandbech of Norway and Mark McMorris of Canada grabbed the bronze medal.
McMorris, the gold-medal favorite before he broke a rib at the X Games in late January, put up a brave showing with his painful injury. He reached the final by virtue of pulling out all the stops with his second run in the semifinal, and scored 88.75 in his second run in the final.
This event had been in the spotlight because snowboarding icon Shaun White pulled out on Wednesday, a day before the start of competition, citing the potential risk of injury. One of the other medal favorites, from Norway, had to pull out because of a broken collarbone sustained in a training run.